Nonlocal adiabatic response of a localized system to local manipulations

Vedika Khemani, Rahul Nandkishore, Shivaji Lal Sondhi

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83 Scopus citations


We examine the response of a system localized by disorder to a time-dependent local perturbation that varies smoothly with a characteristic timescale τ. We find that such a perturbation induces a nonlocal response, involving a rearrangement of conserved quantities over a length scale ∼lnτ. This effect lies beyond linear response, is absent in undisordered insulators and highlights the remarkable subtlety of localized phases. The effect is common to both single-particle and many-body localized phases. Our results have implications for numerous fields, including topological quantum computation in quantum Hall systems, quantum control in disordered environments, and time-dependent localized systems. For example, they indicate that attempts to braid quasiparticles in quantum Hall systems or Majorana nanowires will not succeed if the manipulations are performed asymptotically slowly, and thus using such platforms for topological quantum computation will require considerable engineering. They also establish that disorder-localized insulators suffer from a statistical orthogonality catastrophe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-565
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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